Do you stay an extra couple of minutes when you visit the aquariums in the zoo just to take one more look at how the little fish goes about its way around the tank or to excitingly watch one nearly swim towards your end? Have you longed to have an aquarium in your home, one that is huge, turquoise blue with lots of fishes and little plants and pebbles in it? If you have an approving smile playing on your lips, I wish to list out some of the largest aquariums in the world. But, before you read further I want you to picture the aquariums. Picture them big. Like really big. The following list of the various aquariums around the world would suggest to you how big and how innovative aquariums can get.
17. Shanghai Ocean Aquarium
Located near the Oriental Pearl skyscraper in Pudong, this aquarium boasts of having one of the longest underwater tunnels in the world, measuring 155 meter (about 170 yards) in length. It has two pyramid buildings- a main building and an annexe. In addition to the exhibition area, this aquarium also offers a restaurant that can seat 300 people. Now that would be one tunnel to walk through!
16. Turkua Zoo
How would you like to mould your idea of a vacation into a diving race with the Sharks and that too in the biggest aquariums in Europe? Bizarre much? Well it is true though. The Turkua Zoo aquarium in Istanbul, Turkey is the largest in Europe and even allows visitors to steal a dive or two with the ” friendly ” sharks. It has a populace of over 10000 animals with a tank volume of 5,000 cubic metres. The first aquarium in Europe, the Turkua Zoo is still a major tourist attraction.
15. The Shedd Aquarium
Opened on 30th May, 1930 at Chicago, U.S., the Shedd was for a long time one of the largest aquariums in the world with over 32,000 animals from 1,500 species and a total volume of tanks nearing 5 million US gallons. The Shedd was also the first inland aquarium with a permanent saltwater fish collection and with nearly 2 million annual visitors, was the most visited aquarium in the US in 2005.
14. Sea World
Opened on 15th December, 1973, the Sea World is a specialised harbour of killer whales situated in Orlando. It is renowned for its shows with marine animals with the former mentioned being their highlight. The Sea World has a total area of 200 acres with a sum total of 13 rides and 5 roller coasters! One of the most famous aquariums in the world, the Sea World fell prey to much criticism following the documentary Blackfish, which exposed the cruel treatment meted out to the whales.
13. uShaka Marine World
One of the biggest boasts of South Africa, the uShaka Marine World is located in Durnan and is also the African continent’s largest aquarium. Opened on 30th April, 2004, the aquarium has a total land area of 16 hectares and the total volume of the tanks amount to 17,500 cubic metres. With over 10,000 sea animals for exhibit, the uShaka has about 790,433 visitors every year as per the 2010 records. The uShaka Marine World is SeaWorld-like shows with its marine inhabitants and is also connected to a water park.
12. Hilton Maldives Undersea Restaurant
If wall size aquariums and aquarium beds don’t satiate you, here is more to quench your thirst. An undersea restaurant! The Hilton in the Maldives comes with a jumbo luxury of an underwater suite and an underwater restaurant. Currently owned by the Conrad Hotels, the Hilton Maldives Undersea restaurant has a Maldivian-Western fusion cuisine and a seating capacity of 14. It has an installation of 5-metre wide acrylic arches, with air conditioning and electrical ducts. It has been rated “the most beautiful restaurant in the world” by the New York Daily News in 2014 and offers a 180-degree panoramic view of the vibrant coral gardens. Now that ought to be one sumptuous meal!
11. Hotel Atlantis
I call to stage my fear of a shark bursting through the glass and straight at me when I picture the aquarium in Hotel Atlantis. Located in Dubai, this hotel provides its residents with rooms that go beyond the ordinary. How so? Because you are “underwater” and your room is attached to huge aquarium tanks. The residents are thus provided with an awe inspiring view of the aquatic life most of them being unique ( and probably a whole packet of my fears too). It also offers 1.5km of beach access and as an added bonus has the Marina Mall just 6.5km away!
10. Okinawa Churaumi
Located in Japan, the Okinawa Churaumi was recorded as the largest tank when it was opened in 2002 with over 740 species and 26,000 animals. The main tank in it is the Kuroship Sea. It boasts of a variety of fish including an impressive 8.6 metre whale shark and a large acrylic window which displays this through a 60cm thick window measuring 8.2m in height and 22.5m in width. In the later years Churaumi has been surpassed by the Georgia Acquarium.
The structure does give out a binding beauty and the feel of being in an oxygen generated tube under the sea. The L’Oceanografic is located in Valencia in Spain and can hold as much as 11 million gallons of water, counting all its tanks. The tank has a total land area of 1,200,000 sq.ft with 500 species and a sum total of 45,000 marine life. It was opened on 14th February,2003.
8. The Aquarium of Genoa
The picture does betray a beautiful sight. Located in Italy, the Aquarium of Genoa is the largest in the same. It has a varied number of marine habitants including the North Atlantic, Caribbean, and the Ligurian sea tanks and a land area of 33,000 sq ft, 500 and more species, 6,000,000 litres of tank volume and over 1.3 milllion visitors per year according to the 2008 census. Now that’s quite a handful in one and I would suggest you make one sure trip to this one.
7. The Chimelong Ocean Kingdom
This aquarium is part of the Chimelong International Ocean Resort which aims to be the “Orlando of China” and according to TEA ( Themed Entertaintment Association) and AECOM, is the 20th most visited theme park in the world. The Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in Hengqin, China has to its collection more than the exquisite aquatic life. It has 5 world records to its credit: Largest Aquarium, Largest Aquarium Tank, Largest Aquarium Window, Largest Acrylic Panel and Largest Underwater Viewing Dome. This was earlier when it opened in March 2014 and has been followed by strong criticisms for the methods employed to collect the animals.
6. Deep Aquarium
Located in Hull, England the Deep Aquarium probably is the world’s only submarium. It has a volume of 2,500,000 litres and a collection of 3500 fish, a pair of Green Sawfish, sharks, and a colony of Gentoo Dolphins.The Deep Aquarium is also home to a charity and a research center and has a beautiful view from the outside.
5. The AquaDom
Before you conclude this is just a cylindrical aquarium let me chip in more. The AquaDom aquarium is located in the Radisson Blu Hotel is Berlin and this cylindrical aquarium is 25-meter tall. The AquaDom is the largest acrylic aquarium in the world (by volume) and has a diameter of 11 metre and is built on a 9 metre tall foundation. As an added flavour and for a better, closer experience it also comes with a glass elevator. Now that’s some quick ride through the marine!
4. The Aquarium of Western Australia
Known as AQWA for short, it is Australia’s largest aquarium and is located in a coastal suburb of Perth. The largest tank volume of AQWA is 3,000,000 litres and is home to over 400 marine habitats. The aquarium provides (for a fee ofcourse) divers and snorkelers the chance to dive in with the aquarium’s dive master and go exploring the fish, sharks and rays.
3. Monterey Bay Aquarium
Located on the site of a former sardine cannery on Cannery Row in Monterey, California, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has two gigantic tanks as one of its major highlights. The Monterey Bay harbours over 623 plant and animal species and has a total of 35,000 animals with over 1.8 million visitors every year. It also has one of the larges single pained windows in the world and it exhibits various marine species like stingrays, jellyfish, sea otters and also other native species as well.
2. The Georgia Aquarium
A public aquarium, the Georgia aquaruim is located in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States. It was the largest aquarium in the world when it opened in 2005 and houses more than 100,000 sea creatures which represents over 500 species. It is also the only aquarium outside of Asia to house whole whale sharks which are kept in a gigantic 24 million litre tank in the Ocean Voyager exhibit. This has however cropped up controversies regarding concerns of keeping whale sharks in captivity, with the death of two whale sharks flaming it up even more.
1. Dubai Mall Aquarium
As we reach the end of our list, let us do so in pomp and style. Dubai, land of the liquid gold holds an eye of fascination from the world for quite a couple of things. In addition to being the world’s biggest shopping mall, the Dubai Mall also has a gigantic aquarium as its centrepiece. The mall has over 33000 living animals and has a capacity to hold as much as 10 million litres of water. The aquatic life inside this aquarium includes over 400 sharks and Ray’s. The Dubai Mall aquarium holds a world record for the largest acrylic panel with its panel measurement of 8.3 by 32.88 meter and has a thickness of 75 centimetres (30 inches) thus beating Japan’s Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. As an undertone however, the shark filled tank had a leak in 2010 which forced an evacuation and a brief shutting down of the mall.
Mark one of the above in your “must visit” lists and go ahead and have a marvellous experience!